This phenomenal table has been in my private stash for over 30 years! It is time for it to be shown off instead of stashed away. So, here it is an incredible piece of American furniture history. Attributed to Gilbert Rohde for Troy Sunshade and categorized in many design styles; Art Deco, Machine Age, Streamline Modern, Art Moderne, International Style, and Bauhaus to name the ones I can think of. It appears in the Troy Sunshade 1937 catalog as the 191 Console Table. It features shallow center drawer of painted wood with a pull that is a short small horizontal tubular steel knob. This drawer hangs from the underside of the top and is supported by a chrome steel strap that is connected to the front legs. The top is then supported by chromed tubular steel legs with the front pair having a cane loop at the top and the back pair being a continuous flattened arch piece. All support the top just under its front and back edges. A horizontal chrome tube connects the legs from front to back at the floor. The top overhangs the body slightly and is banded in triple ridge aluminum banding with black paint in the valleys. The top itself is comprised of a multi-named product; Bakelite, Catalin or Cat-O-Lite, to name three. This incredible piece is in great antique condition and will go with so many design styles from Art Deco to modern.
Gilbert Rohde (1894-1944) was the son of a cabinetmaker and born and raised in New York. He is considered one of America’s premier furniture and industrial designers who helped to define American Modernism. Particularly from the late 1920s to WWII as a designer and advisor for Herman Miller Inc. But Herman Miller was not the only company where he initiated modern design. You can include Heywood-Wakefield, the Widdicomb Company, and Troy Sunshade in the list and his early work was sold at Lord and Taylor. Rohde was educated in New York City public schools, but it was a 1927 trip to France and Germany that solidified his future in design and style. He was a designer, a teacher, and a tireless advocate for modern furniture and interiors in American homes, apartments, offices, and commercial and institutional settings. His work was published in design and architecture magazines and newspapers and is held in museums worldwide. According to internet articles “Gilbert Rohde, by focusing on design for mass production, hoped to make modern design the national style of America and to bring modern design to the greatest number of consumers”.
The Troy Sunshade Company was founded in 1887 by Frank Douglas and Gus Stouder and is still in business today but they don’t make furniture! In the beginning they produced carriage sunshades but seeing the need to change with the times particularly during the Great Depression when they developed a new enterprise: Chrome Furniture. They continued this venture and expanded it through the 1950s and 1960s until the furniture division was sold to Gleason Corporation of Milwaukee in 1970. Today Troy Sunshade manufactures a large line of cloth products. Gilbert Rohde was a main thrust in the design of their chrome furniture during the 1930s.
This is an iconic, beautiful and fitting piece of 1930s American furniture design. Make it yours!